Saved by the Belles Ziad Touma

I rather suspect that Saved by the Belles will be more entertaining in 15 years, when its club kid styles and colours will be preserved in amber rather than be screamed in your face. "In your face" is a good way to describe chunky drag queen Sheena (Brian C. Warren) and trusted scenester companion Scarlet (Karen Simpson), who, while rampaging across Montreal nightspots, come across a cute amnesiac and try to help him recover his memory. Weak identity-interplay ensues, though the aggressive (and, for the money, impressive) cinematography and production design do their best to distract you from that fact. While its go-go light and sound show is rather compelling, it's hard not to get a little worn out; for all of the film's spectacular "gender illusionism" it doesn't seem to be having a good time. The film is full of people manufacturing their eccentricities and trying to impress other people, but though the film's one "not in quotes" moment comes when Sheena admits as much, the film soon gets back into artificiality and never lets up. It's not exactly bad, but it's so wrapped up in surfaces that you become starved for a little sincerity, until the absurd Pride-parade coda makes you eat those words. Extras include a commentary with Warren, Simpson and director Ziad Touma, which is heavy on in-jokes and crack-ups, and light on technical information, music videos for One-976's "All this Mini Stitch" and DEE's "Filter Factory," a short film by Touma called Line-Up that takes place in the crowd outside of a club (and becomes repetitive by the halfway point), six deleted scenes, five alternate scenes, a photo gallery and some trailers. (Mongrel Media)